26 Nov 2006
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the former owner of BPL Mobile, has acquired 51 per cent stake in Malayalam TV network Asianet Communications and became its Chairman. Chandrasekhar sold BPL Mobile , a telecom company with cellular services in four circles like Mumbai, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, to Essar last year for $1 billion. This former Intel techie, Chandrasekhar made Rs 1450 crore from the deal which he is using to invest in businesses.
In 1991, he met his wife, Anju — daughter of TPG Nambiar — in Boston where she was doing her MBA. Many believe Mr.Rajeev Chandrasekhar as a "Chanakya Business Brahmin " so much so that he had a dispute with his own father-in-law, BPL group patriarch, TPG Nambiar. He says his father-in-law invested in the cellular venture like any other investor. Rajeev raised Rs 125 crore from IDBI, Deutsche Bank lent another Rs 50 crore while BPL gave the brand and Rs 25 crore.
Relations between Mr Nambiar and Rajeev were strained and the two haven’t been on talking terms for years. Later, for the sake of his daughter, Mr.Nambiar withdrawn all the cases against Rajeev in July 2005.
The son of a retired Air Force officer(Air Commodore M K Chandrasekhar) Mr Chandrasekhar,has picked up the stake in Asianet through his newly floated investment company Jupiter Capital Ventures for a sum between Rs 120 crore and Rs 150 crore.
Current owner of Asianet, NRI businessman Reji Menon, Asianet MD K Madhavan, and Zee Group hold the remaining 49 per cent stake. Zee's holding is only a small 3 per cent stake. Madhavan will continue to be the managing director of Asianet, while Chandrasekhar will be the chairman of the company.
Chandrasekhar already owns FM Radio service Indigo.